The objective of criminal compliance is to avoid criminal offences and administrative offences in connection with business activities. The legislator's objective and the case law of the Federal Court of Justice in criminal cases on the importance of compliance structures further directs the focus to the requirement to set up, continuously review and adapt a compliance system adapted to the company profile.
Criminal and administrative proceedings are not only expensive for companies, but can also cause considerable damage to their image, especially following the publicising of any irregularities in the company.
Compliance system for companies
The law firm of Klötzer-Assion supports companies in setting up their own compliance systems, training employees, etc. Critical issues include prevention, monitoring, education and, if necessary, the sanctioning of employees who violate internal guidelines. To avoid such cases arising (prevention), companies must inform their employees about how to conduct themselves so as to comply with the rules. Compliance should also be monitored. A compliance officer may be appointed, or a whistleblower system introduced. The implementation of the EU Whistleblowing Directive will have to be observed in future, with whistleblowers able to safely disclose information within the company or to the authorities. Whistleblowers are to be more effectively protected against consequences under labour law or other consequences of providing information about grievances. One area of tension is the further guarantee of the protection of company and business secrets.
Sanctions will follow if no precautions are taken to avoid corporate crimes. Conversely, companies can prevent such occurrences through criminal compliance: depending on the size and structure of the company, a few simple measures may be enough to meet the management, coordination and organisational obligations. The yardstick is compliance with the due care required in individual cases. Should criminal offences nevertheless arise, the causes may be found in the course of internal investigations and then remedied.
In addition to the primary criminal liability of company managers, the criminal liability of the company compliance officer (duty of the compliance officer as guarantor) or the heads of internal audits, etc., is becoming increasingly important.